Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
The history of Jewish cooking is long. Almost as long is the history of jokes about Jewish cooking. (A bad matzo ball makes a good paperweight. Hahahahaha.)
Just about everyone—with the possible exception of Jewish food joke writers—will be glad to hear that we’re in a new era of Jewish cuisine. No offense to anyone’s grandmother, but several places are using well-sourced ingredients to make superior versions of brisket, babka, and of course, matzo balls.
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Yep, it’s true. Mere days before Passover, Manischewitz, the most well-known maker of kosher wine (not to mention matzos), has been sold. The announcement came this past Tuesday; the buyer was Sankaty Advisors, an affiliate of Bain Capital.
Never mind that Bain’s most famous co-founder was, of course, Mitt Romney, who’s Mormon and a non-drinker—there’s some sort of cosmic unlikeliness there that’s just too strange for the brain to handle. But I am going to go out on a limb and say, regardless of who will now profit from all of those many bottles of Manischewitz Concord Grape wine, there are other choices out there for Passover. And some of them are actually very good.
Here are five to look for.
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Hear us out: Everyone and their grandmother makes a traditional brisket for the Seder main course, so why not shake things up a bit with our barbecued brisket? The weather is finally warm enough to grill outside without five down parkas (knock on wood), and doing so will free up your oven space for other dishes like roast carrots, salt-roasted potatoes or oven-roasted salmon (if you’re going for a surf-and-turf effect). Whether you’re in Kansas City, Texas or Jerusalem, the key to good barbecued brisket is the right balance of smoke, fat, moisture and tenderness. A low temperature for a long period of time is a given for this tough cut of meat. We’ve developed a few other strategies as well:
Next Monday night, all over the world, people will gather to celebrate Passover - the holiday that commemorates the Jewish people's escape from slavery in Egypt. For seven or eight days (depending on where you live), families and friends come together for festive seder meals packed with ritual foods and a few dietary restrictions (for instance, no leavened grains).
And while many traditions remain the same the world over, favorite regional recipes can bring communities closer together. Here, families from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan share a few of their favorites, courtesy of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, to make your celebration a little larger in spirit.